Bowdon Hightown Go For European Gold

Bowdon Hightown approach this weekend’s EuroHockey Cup Winners Cup at Bowdon at the culmination of what could become their most successful season ever. 

Slazenger EHL 2008-09 Bowdon Hightown Women's Premier Division ChampionsThe newly-crowned Slazenger EHL Premier Division Champions sealed the league title back in February, eventually finishing a full 15 points clear of their nearest challengers while so nearly going through the season with a 100% win record.  Indoors they ended a 14 year wait for the National Indoor Hockey Championships title as they overcame rivals Slough in a thrilling final at the National Indoor Arena while last weekend they overcame Barnes Hounslow Ealing in the semi finals of the Women’s Cup to seal a place in May’s final against Reading.  Although they have previously won the treble, which a Cup Final win over Reading would achieve again, that, coupled with success on the European stage would take their achievement to a new level.

Over Easter weekend they take on some of the strongest sides in Europe as they look to become the first English winners of the competition since Hightown, the club’s name before its merger with Bowdon, won the old A Division in Rotterdam in 1996.  Since the competition became the Cup Winners Cup in 2004 English sides have finished with silver medals on three occasions (2004, 2005 and 2008), bronze once (2006) and fourth place on one further outing.  2009 will be the club’s fourth appearance in the competition since the A Division began in 1991 and their first since 1998.  After finishing second in Birmingham in 1993 the club returned to the competition for that gold medal win of 1996 but two years later, a trip to Leuven in Belgium yielded just fifth place for Hightown.

This year’s competition at South Downs Road will be fierce.  Club de Campo Villa de Madrid and Amsterdam H&BC both lead their respective leagues going into the business end of the season while Italian side HF Lorenzoni currently sit joint top of Serie A Femminile; Bonagrass Grove have also recently been crowned Scottish Champions. 

Speaking exclusively to the England Hockey website ahead of Friday’s opening match against Royal Uccle STHC of Belgium, Bowdon Hightown Team Manager Dieter Hill was in a buoyant mood.

“We’ll have one more training session prior to meeting up at the team hotel,” he explained when asked about how the team was preparing for the competition.  “But we’ve done everything we can now really.”

With the Slazenger EHL finishing a fortnight ago Hill was grateful for the opportunity that the Women’s Cup semi final tie against Barnes Hounslow Ealing presented last weekend.  “The semi final was a good pre-curser for this weekend.  It allowed us to practice a few drills in a competitive situation,” he said.

Slazenger EHL 2008-09 - Bowdon Hightown, Tina CullenThe form of player/coach Tina Cullen, whose semi final hat-trick helped Bowdon Hightown into the Women’s Cup final, will undoubtedly be of critical importance to the hosts if they are to win the title.  Her 24 league goals this season were well spread between field goals and set pieces, taking her to the top of the Premier League scoring charts for the seventh consecutive season. 

On Tuesday, the club released the provisional squad list of 23 players, from which the final tournament squad will be selected. 
The 23 are: Kirsty MacKay, Svenja Lange, Sam Quek, Kate Hendrick, Lucy McNaught, Julie Hope, Nicky O'Donell, Annalisa Bishop, Michaell Liptrot, Tina Cullen, Sally Walton, Nadine Merabi, Charlotte Hartley, Joanne Ellis, Fay Nash, Lis Chaffey, Clare Parkhill, Lyndsay French, Sarah-Jo Coakley, Kath Coveney, Emma Skinner, Ria Hardiman, Carolyn Reid.

They will be coached by a management and coaching team will of Dieter Hill, Bill Ball, Kathryn Moore, Tina Cullen and Roger Newcombe.

News from the camp is that a couple of niggly injuries should clear up by Friday and with their England international athletes excused from the fixtures against Ireland in Dublin this weekend the hosts should be at full strength.

For those not able to make it to Cheshire to see the action live, you will be able to follow the team’s progress on the dedicated 2009 EuroHockey Cup Winners Cup website, www.bowdonhockey.co.uk

Off the pitch, the organisers at Bowdon Hockey Club have done everything they can to ensure that things run smoothly and have successfully recruited more than 100 enthusiastic volunteers to assist them. 

Admission to the event is as follows:

Adult Four Day Season Ticket - £15.00
Under 18 Four Day Season - £7.50
Adult Day Ticket - £4.00
Under 18 Day Ticket - £2.50 

EuroHockey Cup Winners Cup Fixtures

Friday 10 April 2009
10.00 Pool A KTHC Stadion Rot Weiss Köln (GER) v HF Lorenzoni (ITA)
12.00 Pool A Bonagrass Grove (SCO) v Club de Campo Villa de Madrid (ESP)
14.00 Pool B Amsterdam H&BC (NED) v HC Alta-Borispol (UKR)
16.00 Pool B Bowdon Hightown (ENG) v Royal Uccle STHC (BEL)
 
Saturday 11 April 2009
10.00 Pool A KTHC Stadion Rot Weiss Köln (GER) v Club de Campo Villa de Madrid (ESP)
12.00 Pool A Bonagrass Grove (SCO) v HF Lorenzoni  (ITA)
14.00 Pool B Amsterdam H&BC (NED) v Royal Uccle STHC (BEL)
16.00 Pool B Bowdon Hightown (ENG) v HC Alta-Borispol (UKR)
 
Sunday 12 April 2009
10.00 Pool A Club de Campo Villa de Madrid (ESP) v HF Lorenzoni (ITA)
12.00 Pool A KTHC Stadion Rot Weiss Köln (GER) v Bonagrass Grove (SCO)
14.00 Pool B HC Alta-Borispol (UKR) v Royal Uccle STHC (BEL)
16.00 Pool B Bowdon Hightown (ENG) v Amsterdam H&BC (NED)
 
Monday 13 April 2009
09.30 4th Pool A v 3rd Pool B
10.30 3rd Pool A v 4th Pool B
12.45 2nd Pool A v 2nd Pool B
15.00 1st Pool A v 1st Pool B

For all the latest news and information on the Cup Winners Cup check out the event website at www.bowdonhockey.co.uk